Poetry Friday: A Poem Full of Nothing


Each month, Michelle Heidenrich Barnes interviews a children’s poet and asks them to leave readers a poetry challenge. This month, Douglas Florian challenged readers “to write a poem about nothing.” 

When Michelle posted this challenge, I was just finishing physicist Lisa Randall‘s new book, Dark Matter and the Dinosaurs (Ecco/HarperCollins, 2015). Some of the science was over my head, but Randall’s theory, that the demise of dinosaurs was caused by “a comet that was dislodged from its orbit as the Solar System passed through a disk of dark matter,” is fascinating. To set the stage for the big event, Randall gives a brief history of the universe and the truly cosmic question of how, or if, our universe arose from nothing. Her statement that “A cause implies there must be something” was swirling in my head as I thought about and drafted this poem.

“Full of Nothing”

An empty pot is full of nothing
but space for chicken soup,
bubbling and warm.

An empty box is full of nothing
but the opportunity for a gift,
adored and cherished.

An empty page is full of nothing
but possibilities for your poem,
honest and true.

An empty hand is full of nothing
but room to hold yours,
calm and reassuring.

An empty heart is full of nothing
but potential for love,
a treasure beyond measure.

© Catherine Flynn, 2016

Please be sure to visit Tara Smith at A Teaching Life for the Poetry Friday Round Up.


17 thoughts on “Poetry Friday: A Poem Full of Nothing

  1. Thank you for sharing your poem-gift, full of warmth, reassurance, and endless possibilities. I especially love “An empty hand is full of nothing but room to hold yours, calm and reassuring.” Empty has never been fuller. Thank you for filling my spirit this evening with the wonder of all that might be that is and isn’t. God bless you! Thank you!


  2. Beautiful ideas, each one, Catherine. I shared my “nothing” poem this time, too. You’ve made me start adding my own ideas of ’empty’. What a special way to look at the possibilities!


  3. What a wonderful poem, Catherine! I’ve been thinking about that challenge all week but as yet, have managed to do “nothing” with it! I love how you responded to the challenge with a creative spark from something that you read. Thanks for sharing!


  4. Well, that is a very positive and inviting way of looking at nothing, Catherine. (And thanks for the reminder to dig up my ‘Nothing’ poem. I’d forgotten it! #beenalongweek)


  5. I love this poem, from emptiness to full. The form gives shape to the message that nothing is always something. It is what you make of it. Hard to choose a favorite stanza, but I think it’s the hands ready to hold. Thanks for sharing.


  6. Catherine, how delightful to read your take on “Full of Nothing.” I think this would be a fun poem to have students do, only give them the lines ” An empty ________ is full of nothing but . . .” and let them take it from there. My favorite was the empty page full of possibilities.


  7. Yeah–I think that if black holes work the way they say, they are very poorly named! Every empty space is just a container for a possibility, including the possibility of some restful empty space. : )
    Nice one!

    Liked by 1 person

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